Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sreeraagamo....Sarath's musical wizardry at its best!

It was in 1998 that I met Sarath first in Chennai. He was assisting my mentor Raveendran Master and had created the background music for the album 'Ponnonam' in which I had sung my best ever song 'Innu njan Ente' for master...
When he was 16, he recorded his first album in Tamil, `Sangeetha Paravai.' Actually, he began his career by singing for the film `Onninguvannenkil' under the baton of Syam .
`Kshanakatthu,' a Malayalam film, saw him make a successful debut in Malayalam film music. The five songs in the film were instant hits.
After these came more melodious songs from him in films like `Pavitram,' `Ottayal pattalam,' `Sindura rekha,' and `Tacholi Vargees Chekavar.'
Sarath is also a good Carnatic vocalist and has been under the guidance of maestro Balamuralikrishna since 1989. All his songs are deep rooted in classical music and it's his peculiarity that almost all his songs have interludes that have very complicated patterns using different instruments like the veena, and flute.
Though he has done only a few films all of them have songs that stand out and are a connoisseur's delight!
Sreeraagamo is a beautiful melody inter-woven in 'Kharaharapriya' made immortal in the golden voice of Yesudas.

Song: Sreeraagamo
Film: Pavithram (1995)
Original Singer: K.J Yesudas
Lyrics: O.N.V Kurup
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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross....Endless Love......

There would be very few music lovers who would not have heard the song "Hello" or its cover version or at least a Kenny G Sax instrumental version, on the many of the cookery shows on T.V...Many of Lionel Ritchie's songs were super hits and echo almost everywhere in various forms in the media.
"Endless Love" was originally recorded as a duet between Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, who wrote the song. It was later covered by soul singer Luther Vandross with Mariah Carey, and also by country music singer Kenny Rogers.
In fact other than the above three versions, I have heard rare versions sung by famous personalities like film actors, actresses and of course other singers. This is a song that has been alive in the voices of different singers right from 1981 when it was born.
Ross and Richie recorded the song for the Motown label, and it was used as the theme for the film "Endless Love" starring Brooke Shields. Produced by Richie, it was released as a single from the film's soundtrack in 1981 (see 1981 in music). While the film Endless Love was a failure, the song became the biggest-selling single of the year in the U.S. and landed at number one on Billboard magazine's Pop chart, where it stayed for nine weeks from August 9 to October 10, 1981. It also topped the Billboard R&B chart and the Adult Contemporary chart.
The soulful composition became the biggest-selling single of Ross' career, while it was one of several hits for Richie as the 1980s progressed. Ross recorded a solo version of the song for her first RCA Records album, Why Do Fools Fall in Love?, but the famous version was her last hit on Motown. The song was nominated for an Academy Award for "Best Original Song" for Richie, and was the second song with which Ross was involved that was nominated for an Oscar. It also won a 1982 American Music Award for "Favorite Pop/Rock Single".
This is my version of this very famous song. Well I found a wonderful Karaoke Track for this so just decided to give it a try! I have attempted this song just for a change and did it just for the fun of doing it. Now you may ask me what is the fun? Well really speaking this song is not an easy one to sing as it took me almost 5 hours to record! Now you may wonder why? It was just because it is not a streightforward pallavi, anupallavi charam kind of film song. Even though the song is just 4.12 minutes long it is filled with voices at all places and interludes are almost nil compared to Indian music. The other difficulty was that I had to sing both the male and female parts and the various seconds. This song is also characterised by the fact that it has lot of parts where the singers just go by impulse on the mood. I have not tried to copy the song exactly as it is and have sung it in my own way.
If you have listened to the original you will also notice that Ritchie's voice sounds a little different compared to his other songs like Hello, Dancing on the ceiling, Stuck on You etc....
Song: Endless Love (1981)
Original Singers: Lionel Ritchie & Diana Ross
Composed and written by: Lionel Ritchie


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My love
There's only you in my life
The only thing that's bright
My first love
You're every breath that I take
You're every step I make
And I
I want to share
All my love with you
No one else will do
And your eyes
They tell me how much you care
Oh, yes you will always be
My endless love
Two hearts
Two hearts that beat as one
Our lives had just begun
ForeverI'll hold you close in my arms
I can't resist your charms
And love oh love
I'll be a fool for you
I'm sure
You know I don't mind
Oh You knowI don't mind
'Cause you
You mean the world to me
Oh, I know
I know I found in you
My endless love
OhAnd love
I'll be that fool for you
I'm sure
You know I don't mind
You know I don't mind
And yes
You'll be the only one
'Cause no one can't deny
This love I have inside
And I'll give it all to you
My love
My endless love...
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jab Deep Jale Aana from Chitchor..... an immortal song..........

When K.J Yesudas started his career in Hindi Film music none would have even imagined that let alone winning the National award, all the songs from the film Chitchor would be super hits and would become immortal in film music history! Chitchor had beautiful songs which were sung by virtually non entities of Bollywood in those days namely Yesudas and Hemlatha. Ravindra Jain gave everything to bring life to some of the best remembered songs in the history of Indian Film Music! "Gori Tera", "Jab Deep", "Tujo Mere" all were a class apart. Jain had so much faith in Yesudas that he gave all the songs to him. Yesudas became the first south Indian singer to bag a National award singing in Hindi! Ravindra jain even mentioned that "If God gives my eyesight back, the first person whom I would like to see would be Yesudas. He has the voice of God." What more could a singer aspire for! There after he sang for almost all the best music directors like Roshan, Jaidev, Khayyam, Bappi Lahari, Rajkamal....He also sang many beautiful duets with Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle. He gave voice to Amitabh Bachchan in songs like "Chaand Akela", "Koi gata", "Mohabbat bade kaam Ki". This was in spite of Rafi and Kishore generally singing for Amitabh in those days! In the song "Mohobbat bade" from Trishul a Yash Chopra film, Yeasudas was the voice of Amitabh though the song had Rafi and Kishore too singing for other actors!
It was only due to his busy assignments in South India that Yesudas could not continue actively in Hindi. But we Malayalees have a habit of attacking him quite often by saying that he was not successful in Hindi due to his accent and pronunciation! This is really a shame as the Hindi music lovers, Music Directors, Producers...would never ever have thought of these things even in the wildest of their dreams! He had all respect there. In fact his record speaks for itself. He sang for all the best music directors and sang the best songs that even the leading singers of those days could not have dreamt of! Some songs like "Chand Akela" "Dheere Dheere", and all the songs from Chitchor can never ever be imagined in any other singer's voice in Bollywood. His Golden Voice and his uncanny ability to sing the most difficult of harkaths (sangathis) with ease was his forte.
Raag Yaman(Kalyani) has been extensively used in Film music both in the North and South of India. This is because the raag easily atttracts attention due to its underlying beauty of swara frequency progression. Most of the songs composed in Yaman have been hits too. "Jab Deep" too is in Yaman and has all the beauty of this Raag attached to it. This song has been requested many times by many music lovers and finally I was able to do it.
Vidyu has sung the female part and has done a wonderful job as usual! Its been quite long since I have posted a duet and so hope this compensates for the long wait.

Song: Jab Deep Jale Aana
Film: Chitchor
Original Singers: K.J Yesudas & Hemlatha
Music: Ravindra Jain
Lyrics: Ravindra Jain

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INTERVIEW WITH K.J YESUDAS & RAVINDRA JAIN
(QUOTED FROM THE HINDU NEWSPAPER)

Yesudas: Dada, I had invited you for my son's wedding. But then you were busy with `Vivah.'
Jain: Yes, the reel one.
(And the two burst out laughing)
Yesudas: Dada, do you remember our `Chitchor' days.
Jain: Of course. I was on the lookout for a fresh voice for Amol Palekar. And when I heard your voice, I heard the voice of India, of Hindustan. I played it to Basu da [Basu Bhattacharya, director of `Chitchor'] and he also said he had never heard such a divine voice before. All the greats, including singers, agreed that this was a unique voice. That was how the songs of `Chitchor were made. We alwo worked in 'Sunayana' and 'Nayya' ...
Yesudas: I feel that is destiny. I have never ever tried to grab songs. It is destined that each song be sung by a particular person and it is futile for someone else to try and grab that song. This is not a rat race. Right from `Aliyambal,' I have not tried to get ahead at the cost of anyone else.
K.P. Udayabhanu was supposed to sing that song. He fell ill and when the director asked me to sing, I was very reluctant. Only after Udayabhanu gave me the green signal did I agree to render the song. Similarly, when Dada called me, I went to Mumbai to sing for `Chitchor'
Jain: The songs were a big hit and I got a lot of compliments from singers, directors and actors for `Jab Deep Jale... ' It is an immortal song.
Yesudas: Those were the golden days of music. We used to have extensive rehearsals with the full orchestra. Even the film director would be there. But music, like art, evolves. It is not difficult to keep singing the same song year after year. But the song has to evolve and to do that the singer has to have that inner ability. That is manodharma. Usually, I am very serious about my work. So, when I indulged in these variations at a programme recently, the audience was pleasantly surprised. But I got an adept partner who gave me the space to sing. That is the chord that binds us, right Dada.
(He demonstrates by singing `Jab Deep Jale' with slight variations and soon Jain also joins in... )
Jain: When I composed the music for `Tansen,' there was one particular song that played on the ragas and the position of the `Sa.' Mohammed Rafi was at his peak then. When I played this song for him, he told me `Raviji, Mohammed Rafi would not be able to sing this song in this lifetime.' That was the greatness of Rafi. Hemant Da [Hemant Kumar] told me that the very thought of singing the song made him tense. It was finally sung by Yesu. Both of us worked on that song for two days during the recording. No food, no break or even a sip of water. We finished it only after 59 takes.
Yesudas: If we had the technology that is available now, we would have finished it in three hours. At the end of the recording, both of us fell ill. It is a unique song and one of the most difficult ones I have sung. I took no food till the recording was over.
Jain: No water either.
Yesudas: I wanted to do justice to the composition. Never ever have I taken more than 15 to 30 minutes to record a song. But we took five to six days for one song. At the end of it, when certain people told us `Dada, this song is too heavy,' I had to intervene. I asked them why were they making a film on one of the greatest musical legends of India if they did not want pure classical music. It is true that we owe a great deal to our listeners. But the tastes of our viewers and listeners have to grow to appreciate great films and pure Carnatic music.
Jain: One has to understand the mood of a situation for which a song has been composed. The music has to be in tune with the lyrics.
Yesudas: Now, there is lots of noise. If the music does not go with the lyrics and the mood of the scene that it is going to be picturised, the essence of the song is lost. It is not enough to sing the notes on a paper. One has to feel the music and lyrics.
Jain: And it is possible to do that. For instance, I have not changed my style of music for `Vivah.' But I changed the structure of the compositions to suit youngsters. Most of them are so busy as they have so many diversions. So one has to catch their attention.
I have worked in films and serials to my heart's content. By the end of this year, I plan to work with you again. Now, I want to introduce the younger generation to the rich culture of India. So I am composing music for the Vedas and the Upanishads. Yesu, both of us will work on that.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

അമരം......ഈ രവീന്ദ്ര സംഗീതം...........

ഡോ. ബാലമുരലീക്രിഷ്ണയോടു പണ്ടാരോ ചോദിച്ഛു. ക്ലാസ്സിക്കല്‍ സംഗീതം എന്നാല്‍ എന്ത്‌?" അദ്ദേഹം പറഞ്ഞു "എന്നും നില നില്‍ക്കുന്നതു ഏതോ അതാണു ക്ലാസ്സിക്കല്‍ സംഗീതം". രവീന്ദ്രന്‍ മാസ്റ്റര്‍ ഈണം നല്‍കിയ പാട്ടുകള്‍‍‍‍‍ മലയാളിയുടെ മനസ്സില്‍ എന്നും നിറഞ്ഞു നില്‍ക്കുന്നു. തലമുറകല്‍ തോറും അതു നമ്മള്‍ ഏറ്റു പാടും... സംശയമില്ല. ക്ലാസ്സിക്കല്‍ സംഗീതം എന്നാല്‍ ഇതു തന്നെ! സച്ചിന്‍ ടെന്ദുല്‍ക്കറും ഗാംഗുലിയും ബാറ്റ്‌ ചെയ്യുന്നതു പോലെ, മനോഹരമയ ടൈമിംഗ്‌ വേണം മാഷുടെ ഗാനങ്ങള്‍‍ ആലപിക്കണമെങ്കില്‍‍‍‍. വളരെ ബുദ്ധിമുട്ടുള്ള സംഗതികള്‍‍ ചുരുങ്ങിയ സമയത്തിനുള്ളില്‍ പാടണം എന്നതാണു മാഷുടെ പാട്ടുകളില്‍ ഉള്ള ഒരു പ്രത്യേകത. ഗായകന്റെ കഴിവിനെ ശരിക്കും പരീക്ഷിക്കുന്ന പാട്ടുകള്‍. ഓര്‍ക്കസ്റ്റ്റയുടെ ബഹളം ഇല്ലാതെ പാട്ടു മാത്രമയി നിലനില്‍ക്കുന്ന പാട്ടുകള്‍! ജീവനുള്ള ഗാനങ്ങള്‍‍! ഇന്നു ഗാനങ്ങള്‍‍ ചെയ്യുന്നതു ഗായകരുടെ കുറവുകല്‍ നോക്കി അവര്‍ക്കു പാടി ഒപ്പിക്കാന്‍ പറ്റിയ വിധത്തില്‍ ആണല്ലൊ! ഈ അവസരത്തില്‍ രവീന്ദ്രന്‍ മാസ്റ്ററുടെ ഗാനങ്ങ‍ള്‍ കേള്‍ക്കുന്ന മലയാളിക്കു‍‍‍‍‍ മലയാള സംഗീതം ഇന്നു് എവിടെ എത്തി നില്‍ക്കുന്നു എന്നു മനസ്സിലാകും.
ഗാനം: അഴകെ
ചിത്രം: അമരം
സംഗീതം: രവീന്ദ്രന്‍
യഥാര്‍ത്ഥ ഗായകന്‍: യേശുദാസ്‌
വരികള്‍‍: കൈതപ്രം

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